Monthly Archives: March 2009

>First The Gay Gene, And Now The Gay Test

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Going, ahem, down under is given a whole new meaning, now that the Melbourne Catholic Church has confirmed that it will be following Vatican recommendations to test would-be priests who are suspected of “deeply seated” homosexuality.

Deeply seated? Is that some sort of butt joke?
Does the test involve butt-less chaps and feather boas?
Does it require hands-on instruction?
The head of the Vatican committee which released the guidelines has also stated that celibate gays must also be banned because homosexuality is ‘‘a type of deviation’’.

A type of deviation? Well, at least they aren’t mincing words while they’re mincing around.
The “Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood” were drawn up by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican. The prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Grocholewski, explained that any seminarian should be excluded from the priesthood, even if he is celibate, if it appeared that he was homosexual.

“The candidate does not necessarily have to practise homosexuality. He can even be without sin, [b]ut if he has this deep-seated tendency, he cannot be admitted to priestly ministry precisely because of the nature of the priesthood, in which a spiritual paternity is carried out. Here we are not talking about whether he commits sins, but whether this deeply rooted tendency remains.”

A “tendency” to be gay? Well, I for one don’t tend to be gay; I am gay. I do, however, tend to be annoyed by homophobia.
The tests will show, so they say, that if seminary students show signs of grave immaturity, then “the path of formation will have to be interrupted”. The listed ‘Symptoms of Immaturity’ include unclear sexual identity, difficulty with the celibate life, excessive rigidity of character and lack of freedom in relations.

So, the Pope doesn’t believe condoms work in the spread of HIV, and the Vatican believes it can test for homosexuality.

Gotta love them Catholics, there are a fun bunch to watch.

6 Comments

Filed under Anti-LGBT, Catholic Church, Homophobia, Idiotic

>And Now, For A Musical Interlude

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I saw this over at Joe.My.God and, well, I’m just doing my part.

Ladies and Ladies, Jay Brannan

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Filed under Jay Brannan, Joe.My.God., Music, YouTube

>Stewart v Vermont

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I often wonder about the struggle for gay rights. Actually, I hate the term gay rights; howsabout calling it gay equality, because that’s really what it’s about. Equality. We have all these folks, including myself, blustering and filibustering on both sides of the issue. It’s right. It’s immoral. It’s fair. It’s a perversion. Sometimes it takes a clown, or in this instance, a comedian, to take the whole idea of equality and turn it into a punchline. Albeit a punchline filled with common sense and understanding.

Jon Stewart performed at the University of Vermont last weekend. That’s right, Vermont, in the midst of its own war for and against gay equality. Still, with a sharp tongue and a punchline, Jon Stewart was able to make sense of it all, and maybe that’s a good thing. Get the people to laugh, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll start to think….and rethink.

“I can understand being against gay marriage — if they decided to make it mandatory. This isn’t a cultural divide: They’re wrong.”

Stewart even tackled the so-called gay agenda, a term that most anti-gay groups like to use as nauseum.

“Here’s the gay agenda: [t]hey’d like to get married … and fight in the military and march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.”

And, of course, he could not let those who use the Bible to vote against equality off the hook so easily. To those folks who use the Book of Leviticus in their arguments, Stewart suggests that we should begin to adhere to the book’s taboo on eating shellfish.

“Why aren’t we shutting down the Red Lobsters?”

But seriously folks, in his standup routine, in which he took aim at a variety of topics, not just gay equality, Stewart was able to get people thinking. Make them laugh at the joke, and then they might think about the joke, and how, really, it isn’t so funny after all, because, in the end, all we really want to do is get married, serve in the military and march in a St Patrick’s Day parade.

Is that too much to ask?

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Filed under Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

>Normal

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We sat last night, as we usually do, finishing dinner and going over the minutiae of our day. Was it a productive day? Not so much. Did you learn something new? Always. Of course, it helped to be sipping a very nice Pinot Noir; red wine always makes a conversation flow.

Carlos was telling me about preparing a presentation on HIV for one of the local churches. No, not the Baptists, because Baptists don’t do anything that might lead to HIV. The church in question was an Islamic church in Columbia. Carlos had given a presentation there once before and it was very well-received, so his group was asked back, with one caveat.

They needed to have a woman available to talk to the women in the church.

Carlos didn’t quite understand this. He knew that men and women worshipped separately, and that woman were considered subservient to men, but he couldn’t grasp how this is possible in the world today. He said it was abnormal for women to be treated, and to let themselves be treated, that way.

I said he was looking at Islam from a different perspective; from growing up in Mexico City to living the last twenty-odd years here in the US, and that his view was not the view of Islam, so he couldn’t judge them based on his own experiences.

But it isn’t normal, he said.

That lead us to a conversation about what is normal. An interesting chat considering we’re a gay couple and, depending on whom you believe, and who yells the loudest. most people think we’re abnormal.

So, what is normal?

My parents were married almost fifty-two years before my mother passed away. That isn’t normal, when you consider the divorce rate these days. They had three children, so is that normal? Couldn’t be because the Morrison’s from across the street only had two children, so was that normal? But then what about the couple that lived next door? They had no children, but they did have a Great Dane who had his own room and a twin bed to sleep in. How’s that for normal?

I’m gay. Is that normal? There are theories that suggest 10% of the population is gay, but 30% of my parents children are homosexual, Extrapolate that out to include the children of my aunts and uncles, and 14% of my population is gay; and the number gets smaller if you factor in the aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews that have been added over the years.

So, what is normal, and why do we base normality on our own experiences rather than celebrating what is different about each of us? My normal isn’t even Carlos’ normal; he is an only child. So, do I think of him as abnormal, or is that me?

Are the women who worship separately at an Islamic church abnormal, or is that simply the way of life for them?

See, normal isn’t normal. It shifts and varies with each of us, based on socio-economic issues, issues of geography and education and faith and sexual orientation and gender and age. There really is no normal.

Which is normal.

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Filed under Baptists, Bob, Carlos, Church Of Islam, HIV, Normal, Religion

>Newt Newt Newt

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Way back in January 2005, Newt Gingrich was set to deliver a speech at Catholic University, and a group of students rose up in protest, accusing the twice-divorced, admitted philanderer of violating the Catholic values upon which their school was founded.

Fast forward to March 24, 2009. Newt Gingrich blasts Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to give the commencement address, saying, “It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values.”

What gives, Newt?

Oh wait, here’s what gives: on March 26, 2009, Newt Gingrich, the three-times-married adulterer, converted to Catholicism because wife three is Catholic. The ceremony wasn’t given a lot of press because, well, how would it look, really? The man who tried to impeach President Clinton over a blow job, all the while cheating on his own wife? A man whom students protested against at a Catholic school, now doing the same thing against the president?

Let he who is without sin, Newt….yada yada yada.

Oh, but the new Newt is without sin, now.

Apparently, leading Catholic conservatives like Deal Hudson are thrilled to welcome Newt into the flock. Hudson, the most important Catholic political adviser to President Bush and Karl Rove, feels Gingrich’s conversion represents more than an effort to please the latest Mrs. Gingrich.

“From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson says, “Newt’s sins no longer exist—they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”
Of course, Hudson knows whereof he speaks.

Although raised Southern Baptist, Hudson converted to Catholicism at age 34; he received his first communion and promptly had his first marriage annulled. He divorced wife # 2 four years later. After his conversion, Hudson began teaching philosophy at Fordham University. And like Newt, with marriages and divorces and infidelities, Hudson had his own issues.

In 1994, after a night of drinking at a West Village pub, during which he allegedly made out with two female students and took “body shots” with them, Hudson brought a drunk 18-year-old student named Cara Poppas back to his office and compelled her to perform oral sex on him. Poppas informed school authorities about the incident and Hudson resigned. Two years later he settled a sexual-harassment lawsuit out of court with Poppas for $30,000.

So, Hudson thinks Newt worthy of being cleansed of sin, worthy of being president, because his sins are erased? Well, Deal Hudson, those sins are not erased from the minds of people who don’t vote hypocrisy; those sins aren’t erased by the very people you castigate on a daily basis for doing the same things you’ve done, and do..

I have three words for Deal Hudson and Newt Gingrich: Pot. Kettle. Black.

Remember ’em; because I will.

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Filed under Catholic, Catholic Church, Deal Hudson, Newt Gingrich, Notre Dame, President Obama, Sin, Uncategorized

>Remember The Palin

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story at Pam’s House Blend

Alaska Governor, and possible future presidential candidate, Sarah Palin named Anchorage lawyer Wayne Anthony Ross as her new attorney general last week. Now, anyone who knows of Sarah Palin knows she is most decidedly not gay friendly, and is definitely a far right wingnut, but Wayne Anthony Ross makes her look almost….almost….inclusive.

From Wayne Anthony Ross never a quiet force,” in the Anchorage Daily News: “During a fight several years ago over gay rights, [Allison] Mendel helped organize Anchorage lawyers in support of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Ross wrote a nasty letter to the Bar Association newsletter, using words like “immoral”, “perversion” and “degenerates.” The language went way beyond reasonable disagreement, Mendel and others said.”

Besides being a homophobe, there are several more interesting facts about Ross, who uses his initials…WAR…on his vanity plates:
  • He was a founder of Alaska Right to Life and represented, without fee, anti-abortion protesters charged with trespassing, telling reporters: “I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord (but) if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket.”
  • He was the defense lawyer for former Representative Vic Kohring, who is serving a 3 1/2 year sentence on corruption charges.
  • He opposes Native subsistence rights and was the lead lawyer in the case that got Alaska’s subsistence law declared unconstitutional. In 2002, as a gubernatorial candidate, he vowed to hire a band of “junkyard dog” assistant AG’s to challenge the federal law that requires subsistence preference, or seek changes through Congress.
  • He represented Sarah Palin in her ethics case against state GOP chair Randy Ruedrich when both were on the Oil and Gas Commission
  • He co-chaired Palin’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign.
  • He was hoping for an appointment to head the Department of Health and Social Services so he could “stop the department from interfering with families when they should not be interfering and get them interfering with families when they should be interfering” but he was passed over.
  • He defended a man who twice poured buckets of water from a passing pickup onto anti-war demonstrators in the rain and snow. His client was convicted of harassment and violating constitutional rights.
  • He was the co-chair of Alaskans for Phil Gramm–one of the people responsible for the current economic crisis, and, as co-chair of John McCain’s presidential campaign, Gramm he called us “a nation of whiners.”
  • He is a former vice president of the National Rifle Association and was in line to become president but was voted out of office. He is still a director of the NRA.
  • He ran for governor in 1998 and 2002.
So, all this gives me pause, and makes me wonder, if Ms. Palin isn’t trying to pick her successor as governor for when she makes her mad dash at the White House in 2012? If she is, remember the kinds of people she filled Alaska state government with, like Ross: pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-Native-American, anti-gay.
Is that really what we want for America?
Send Sarah Into a Snowbank.

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Filed under Idiotic, Mama Grizzly Bore, Republican, SSIS, Uncategorized

>Listen

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I had to take an obligatory speech class in college, and there was nothing I feared more than speaking in front of people. I am a somewhat shy person, more shy then, than I am today, and only liked speaking to people in situations in which I am in control.

I don’t like public speaking. At all.

But I discovered that I could take a course called Interpersonal Communication to satisfy that whole speaking business, so I signed up. The first day of class was fantastic; we were told that we would learn the rules of communication, of active listening, of conversational participation; we were told of papers we would write and the tests we would take. We were required, however, to take part in a Dyad experiment, which would be a conversation between two classmates using the techniques we learned in class. We would then prepare a lecture to be presented to the class regarding out dyad experience.

What? Lecture? Huh?

I began to perspire, and Day One Class still had an hour left. But I stayed, and told myself it was one lecture, at the end of the semester, and that I could do it.

The class itself was quite interesting; learning how people really don’t listen….they really don’t. And how we can learn to listen; learn to communicate. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and the professor. And then came more talk of the Dyad.

The class was divided in two, and the professor picked one person on the left side and asked them to pick a person on the right side as their dyad partner. I began scouring the other side of the room, so that when it was my turn to pick I wouldn’t blow it. I saw this woman, Olga, a bit older than myself, and different enough that maybe the conversation would be easy. I would pick Olga! I could breathe and I sat back awaiting my turn to choose.

Then the professor called Olga’s name and I froze. Olga was mine! I wanted Olga! Now, I began looking again at the other side of the room and could see no one I would choose as a partner. Then I caught Olga’s eyes, and she chose me. Really? Me? Okay. Breathing again.

The assignment was that we would meet outside of class at least five times, and use the interpersonal communication skills we learned in class to carry on a conversation. We would write an update after each meeting and turn these in; we were simply instructed to ‘get to know one another.’

Olga and I met the next day, and the conversation started off slow but okay. I learned she was from Russia and had recently left her homeland to come to the United States because she was a devout Christian and could not worship openly in her country.

A devout Christian? What had I done?

So, our conversation quickly shifted away from the minutiae of our existence and we began discussing religion. This was a definite no-no, as our instructor had warned us, because it was a divisive topic, and didn’t lend itself to Active Listening.

Still, we continued. Olga was quite close-minded about anything that didn’t coincide with her beliefs, while I was quite open-mined about the possibility of different thought. Olga actually talked into seeing a Billy Graham lecture/sermon when he came to Sacramento.

Me? Billy Graham? Hellfire and damnation?

But I went, and it was, well, interesting. What i got out of his lecture/sermon was that it was best to be nice to people, treat them as you’d want to be treated. Sorry, Billy, but my parents beat you to that lesson.

Still, it was nice to be in that room and feel the peacefulness surrounding everyone. Until we got in to the parking lot. I never heard so many horns honking or saw so many middle fingers raised as I did watching those Billy Graham followers try to get out of the parking lot first. Hadn’t they been to the same lecture/sermon as I had heard? Did they only believe in that room?

Olga and I had an interesting talk about that the next day, and strangely enough she hadn’t witnessed a single finger or heard any profanities. perhaps she hadn’t chosen the Heathen Lot as the place to leave her car.

And so our talk then switched to Heaven and who would get there and who would not. Her strong convictions led Olga to believe that only those who accept Jesus Christ into their lives would get to Heaven, and those who did not would go to Hell. But, I argued, say I am a rapist and murderer, a pedophile and thief, a homosexual, all of my life, and then the instant before I die, I ask Jesus for forgiveness and he allows me into Heaven.

Yes, he would, she said.

But what if I life my life the “right” way, never harming anyone, always doing the good and noble deed, never breaking any of man’s or God’s laws, but I don’t believe in Jesus?

Then you go to Hell.

Well, I wanted no part of a faith like that, so I shifted the conversation to other religions, and she said there were no other religions, that all of those “faiths’ were wrong and those people would not get to Heaven.

I explained my belief that all faiths and no faiths were paths on a mountainside, and we make choices on which path to choose, and we follow our chosen path up the mountain. The paths intersect every so often and you can change paths, if you think it’s a wise choice, or you can stay on one path. But all paths lead to the same place, whether it be Heaven or Nirvana or Pittsburgh.

No, she said, it was Christianity or Hell.

Well, I think it’s quite clear what I chose.

But the interesting thing about the dyad was that neither of us gave up on the other. We were able to use what we learned in class to continue the discussion, and listen, really, listen, to what was being said.

Olga didn’t change my mind about religion, and I didn’t change hers. And the day that lecture came, where I was to speak in front of that class, there was no sweat, or nerves. It started off quite simply:

Olga is a very religious woman, and I’m very…not……………

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Filed under Billy Graham, Bob, College, Religion